From Gaza to Jerusalem: Confront massacres and ethnic cleansing, support Palestinian resistance!

Participate and join an action!

As violent colonial settlers march through occupied Palestinian Jerusalem and to the Al-Aqsa Mosque – after Israeli occupation forces injured hundreds of Palestinians in their attacks on worshippers, Israeli drone warplanes just murdered nine Palestinians in Gaza, including three children, in Beit Hanoun. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all Palestinian, Arab and international supporters of Palestine to escalate their organizing and struggle to confront massacres and ethnic cleansing and support Palestinian resistance! 

For over 73 years of ongoing Nakba, Palestinians have resisted Israeli massacres, ethnic cleansing and colonialism. The latest crimes of Zionism against the Palestinian people, from Sheikh Jarrah to Gaza, the nine martyrs, the murdered children, the hundreds of wounded, and the thousands of Palestinian prisoners resisting behind bars, must inspire all people of conscience to act and organize. 

In this moment, it is particularly important to highlight our unconditional support for the Palestinian people and their right to resist. It is now and has always been the resistance of the Palestinian people, through all forms of struggle, that defends Palestine from colonialism and will lead the march to victory and liberation, from the river to the sea. The Palestinian armed resistance are freedom fighters, not only for Palestine confronting Zionism, but on the front lines of the international battle to fight imperialism and colonialism, the greatest threat to the peoples of the world. These Palestinian fighters confront the Israeli military machine, which does not stand alone but is backed by over $3.8 billion in U.S. military aid annually. Our solidarity must affirm Palestinian resistance, Palestinian return, and Palestinian liberation, throughout the entire land of occupied Palestine. 

Each Palestinian life, though it is far too often censored, suppressed or unmentioned in Western media, is precious. The nine Palestinians massacred in Gaza by the Israeli occupation forces lived, loved, worked, struggled and built their lives under siege, nourished and nurtured their children. The three children had their entire lives ahead of them, with every potential to shine, develop and blossom, cut off because of the racist ideology of Zionism and the racist state of Israel, backed to the hilt by imperialist powers from the U.S. to Canada to the UK to the European states. We must not let their lives and memory pass by or let their blood be shed idly or in vain. 

Join us in action in Stockholm, in London, in Madrid, in Berlin, in New York, in Vancouver, in Frankfurt, in Los Angeles, in Toronto, in Toulouse, in Gothenburg, in Athens, and so many other cities in the coming days. (See the list below and at our global calendar!) Your action to support the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance, for return to Palestine and liberation from the river to the sea is more important than ever — to honor the martyrs, to stop ethnic cleansing, and to stand with Palestine in 73 years of struggle. 

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Palestinians continue to resist and to prove that the Palestinian struggle continues and that organizing and resistance is the road to liberation. We know that it is this resistance that will defeat the attacks of Zionism and imperialism, and our actions and organizing around the world can work to build support for the Palestinian people and their resistance in Jerusalem, Gaza, throughout occupied Palestine and in exile and diaspora.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all friends of Palestine around the world to join the campaign to #SaveSheikhJarrah and to support Gaza — and all of Palestine. Boycott Israel, take the streets and take action, organize direct actions and speak out to defend Jerusalem, defend Palestine and support the Palestinian resistance and the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea!

Join us in the Week of Palestinian Struggle from 15-22 May — and right now, urgently, before the week officially begins — to escalate our organizing, resistance and action to support the Palestinians struggling, resisting, fighting and facing the most severe, brutal and deadly colonial violence on the front lines of liberation struggle.

READ THE FULL CALL TO ACTION in English — Arabic — German — French — Swedish

(Source / 10.05.2021)

Israeli arrest raids target Palestinian women activists and leftist organizers: Free Khitam Saafin, Shatha Tawil and all Palestinian prisoners!

In the pre-dawn hours of 2 November 2020 – on the anniversary of the colonial Balfour declaration and only days after the one-year anniversary of the imprisonment of Palestinian feminist, leftist and parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar – Israeli occupation forces stormed the homes of women’s movement and student movement leaders, former prisoners and leftist organizers throughout the occupied West Bank of Palestine. They seized Khitam Saafin, the president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and student leader Shatha al-Tawil, a Bir Zeit University student, after invading their homes in al-Bireh.

The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees denounced the arrest of Saafin, who has previously been subjected to arbitrary administrative detention, noting that it comes amid an ongoing attack on Palestinian women, especially women students. Shatha Tawil is now among hundreds of Palestinian university students imprisoned by the Israeli occupation, including a number of student leaders at Bir Zeit University.

Photo: Shatha Tawil

The UPWC called on “all strugglers for freedom in Palestine and internationally to carry out campaigns of solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and all of the strugglers of our people until their liberation.”

Photo: Khitam Saafin

At almost the same time, Israeli occupation forces seized former prisoner and longtime trade union activist Mohammed Jawabreh, 55, from Izbat al-Jarad southwest of Tulkarem, and prominent Palestinian leftist Jamal Barham, 60, from the village of Ramin, also near Tulkarem, ransacking their homes and abducting these community leaders.

Photo: Mohammed Jawabreh

Jamal Barham has been detained in the past without charge or trial under administrative detention and served as the head of the Arab Studies Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Photo: Jamal Barham

In Qalqilya, occupation forces invaded and ransacked the homes of and seized Shaher al-Rai, 50 and Ahmed Mohammed al-Rai, 65, longtime community leaders. Shaher al-Rai is a former prisoner who has been detained on multiple occasions by Israeli occupation forces, often under administrative detention, indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial. He has been arrested seven times, including three stints in administrative detention, and imprisoned for over 12 years in total.

Photo: Shaher al-Rai

Al-Rai is married to Palestinian activist Manal al-Rai and they have three children, Jarrah, Wajla and Kanaan. Manal al-Rai spoke about the impact of her husband’s earlier administrative detention on their young son in this video from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association:

Shaher Al-Rai was earlier imprisoned by Palestinian Authority security forces for multiple years after he and his cousin were implicated in a false affidavit given by a Palestinian prisoner under Israeli torture. The confession was proven false by incontrovertible evidence and the Palestinian who made the confession under torture released and later compensated by Israeli intelligence, in an unusual case. Nevertheless, al-Rai remained held in PA prison for years after the discrediting of the confession, and released only after a widespread campaign.

Photo: Ahmad al-Rai

These latest attacks come amid several urgent situations threatening Palestinian prisoners, including an announcement of an outbreak of the novel coronavirus among at least 12 Palestinian prisoners detained in the Israeli occupation’s Gilboa prison, where around 90 prisoners in total are held. Palestinian prisoners in Gilboa, Ramon and Nafha prisons announced that they will escalate their protests given the ongoing negligence and deliberate neglect of Palestinian prisoners’ health by the Israeli prison administration.

Meanwhile, Palestinian detainee Maher al-Akhras is entering his 99th day of hunger strike against his Israeli administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. His health condition has weakened dramatically and he is no longer able to walk and can barely talk. He has insisted on continuing his hunger strike until he wins his freedom from unjust imprisonment. Al-Akhras’ case has spurred worldwide outrage, including a statement from Irish trade unions, international lawyers and multiple social media campaigns to demand his immediate release.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and many organizations, including Within Our Lifetime – United for Palestine, will campaign on social media on Tuesday, 3 November, the 100th day of Maher’s hunger strike for dignity, justice and freedom. We urge you to join us with tweets, photos and videos – and protests and actions – to share your solidarity at this critical moment. Follow @SamidounPP on Twitter to join the Twitterstorm at 10 am Pacific time, 1 pm Eastern time, 7 pm in central Europe and 8 pm Palestine time.

Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine, alongside the families of the prisoners and the martyrs, will hold a protest in occupied Ramallah, Palestine, at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, 3 November, to march for liberation for Maher al-Akhras and all Palestinian prisoners.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces these latest attacks on the Palestinian women’s movement, student movement and community organizers. We urge women’s organizations, student organizations and people of conscience everywhere to raise their voices and act in solidarity with Khitam Saafin, Shatha al-Tawil and their fellow Palestinian prisoners targeted by the Israeli occupation – including by building the movement for the boycott of Israel, its institutions and complicit corporations like HP, Puma and G4S. The Israeli occupation wants, on this anniversary of the Balfour declaration, to continue its colonization of Palestine unchecked by isolating and detaining the leaders of the Palestinian people’s movement. Join us to act and urge their immediate release and the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners, and of Palestine, from the river to the sea!

(Source / 02.11.2020)

Palestinian student Yahya al-Qarout abducted by Israeli occupation forces

Today, Thursday 4 June 2020, Israeli occupation forces abducted Palestinian university student Yahya al-Qarout from his family home in the Aqtaba area in occupied Tulkarem after large numbers of occupation soldiers stormed the home at 4:00 a.m. Al-Qarout is in his third year of study at Bir Zeit University, where he studies computer science. He is also the secretary as the preparatory committee of the Bir Zeit University Student Council.

Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine communicated with Yahya’s family, who told Samidoun representatives that this was his first arrest. His family is making attempts to reach the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission in order to learn more about their son’s situation and seek his immediate release. He is expected to be brought before Israeli occupation military courts on Sunday.

The al-Qarout family noted that Yahya is a calm, dedicated student who loves sports, especially weightlifting and football, and is a very socially oriented person who always tries to help and support others.

This marks the latest arrest in an ongoing Israeli policy of targeting involved and active students and the Palestinian student movement as a whole. There are hundreds of Palestinian university students held in Israeli jails, including approximately 80 from Bir Zeit University.

Over the years, thousands of Palestinian university students have been targeted for arrest and persecution. Palestinian universities have been frequently raided by Israeli occupation forces; student organizations’ offices have been ransacked, their belongings confiscated and destroyed.

Palestinian student activities are notable for their political diversity and expression. Student council elections spark a vast amount of debate and political competition between all trends of the Palestinian movement and are often considered to reflect the prevailing sentiment in Palestinian society. This vibrant expression of a democratic political culture is routinely subjected to violent suppression by the Israeli occupation, including raids and arrests targeting student council members.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network once again urges broad global solidarity with Yahya al-Qarout and all Palestinian students facing repression, arrest and imprisonment targeting their right to education. This includes escalating academic boycott campaigns by students and faculty at universities around the world. Palestinian students continue to organize, struggle and learn despite severe and systematic repression, including torture under interrogation and arrests that inhibit and disrupt their academic careers. We demand the immediate release of Yahya al-Qarout and all imprisoned students!

This 1985 poster by the General Union of Palestinian Students indicates the systematic and ongoing nature of Israeli arrests and targeting of Palestinian students

(Source / 06.06.2020)

Israeli military court once again detains Palestinian former hunger striker without charge or trial

Huzaifa Halabiya Bader with his daughter, Majdal, after his release from his previous term in administrative detention

Former long-term hunger striker and Palestinian detainee Huzaifa Halabiya Bader was once again ordered to six months in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, by the Israeli Ofer Military Court on 25 May 2020. The new administrative detention order comes only five and a half months after he was released in December 2019 from a previous period of imprisonment without charge or trial, during which he conducted a 67-day hunger strike to win his freedom.

Israeli occupation forces raided his hometown of Abu Dis near occupied Jerusalem on 17 May, seizing Bader from his home. He was once again taken from his young daughter Majdal, who was born during his previous imprisonment. Bader, 29, suffers from a number of health concerns, and his imprisonment amid the COVID-19 pandemic is raising even greater alarms. He survived a serious fire in an accident as a young boy, leaving him with burns over the vast majority of his body, and later survived leukemia. As a result, he has consistently required specialized medical treatment, while Palestinian prisoners are subjected to systematic medical neglect and mistreatment inside Israeli jails.

Israeli occupation forces invade occupied Abu Dis on 17 May to abduct Huzaifa Halabiya Bader

During his previous term in administrative detention, dozens of Palestinian prisoners joined solidarity strikes and refused meals to join the campaign for his release as he carried on a 67-day hunger strike for freedom. His community in Abu Dis maintained ongoing solidarity tents and vigils to demand his freedom, while protesters elsewhere in Palestine and internationally echoed the calls for his immediate release.

He is now one of approximately 500 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial, out of nearly 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners in total. Administrative detention was initially introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and has been embraced by the Zionist regime to arbitrarily detain Palestinians, especially community activists, student organizers and other influential leaders in their community. Administrative detention orders may be issued for up to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable; Palestinians have spent years jailed without charge or trial as a result.

It is notable that the new arrest and arbitrary imprisonment of Huzaifa Halabiya Bader comes as the Israeli regime – along with its U.S. imperialist partners – plans and promotes the official annexation of even more of occupied Palestine, specifically the fertile Jordan Valley.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Huzaifa Halabiya Bader and all Palestinian prisoners, especially those jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Administrative detention is a colonial mechanism aimed to prevent, disrupt and target Palestinian resistance and organizing in any form, removing leaders from their communities as they confront the daily violence of Zionist colonialism, apartheid and occupation. We urge the broadest international solidarity to demand the release of Huzaifa Halabiya Bader and all Palestinian detainees, including building the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions and the isolation of Israel.

(Source / 28.05.2020)

Palestinian prisoner Sami Janazrah nears second week of hunger strike as Israeli military courts reopen

Palestinian prisoner Sami Janazrah, 47, neared his second week of hunger strike as Palestinians and people around the world readied to celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, 24 May 2020. Janazrah is once again jailed without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention after conducting two previous hunger strikes to win his release. Janazrah is currently being held in Ela prison, thrown in isolation in retaliation for his hunger strike.

Janazrah was once again abducted by Israeli occupation forces from his home in the al-Fawwar refugee camp south of al-Khalil on 16 September 2019, only 10 months after his last release from 11 months in prison, also under administration without charge or trial. Following his detention, he was issued a four-month detention order by the Ofer military court. Administrative detention orders – a practice first introduced by the British colonial mandate in occupied Palestine and then adopted by the Zionist regime – are based on secret evidence and are indefinitely renewable. There are currently almost 500 Palestinians held in administrative detention, out of nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

His detention order has since been renewed twice for an additional four months, the latest detention order sparking the launch of his hunger strike on 11 May 2020. Days before, the Israeli supreme court rejected the appeal of his lawyer against his administrative detention without charge or trial. He has previously launched two long-term hunger strikes against his imprisonment, for 76 days in 2016 and for 43 days in 2018.

He is the father of three children, Firas (16), Mahmoud (12), and Maria (8). He and his wife are awaiting the birth of their fourth child in the coming days, and he had been awaiting his freedom to welcome his new child. He missed the birth of two of his children due to his imprisonment; he has been jailed over the years for a total of 11 years, most of them without charge or trial in administrative detention.

Janazrah’s hunger strike comes as Israeli occupation forces announced the official reopening of the military courts on 24 May 2020. In-person military court sessions attended by the prisoners and at most one family member have been suspended since the first week of March, ostensibly in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prisoners were also denied legal and family visits, with only limited phone calls allowed with lawyers. No indication has been made that legal and family visits will be resumed, despite the fact that prisoners will be put at risk to their health through arduous “bosta” transfers and repeated contact with jailers, guards and military court officials. (Israeli officials have claimed that medical masks will be worn in the military courts.)

Palestinian prisoners and their families have raised very serious concerns that the Israeli prison system may attempt to make these supposed preventative measures the new normal, especially as denial of family visits, suppression of access to lawyers as well as disregard for and medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners’ health are constant and systematic Israeli policies.

While administrative detention without charge or trial is one clear example of Israeli injustice, so too are the military courts, where Palestinians are convicted at rates greater than 99% on an array of bogus and trumped-up charges that criminalize political activity, public speech and student and cultural events, among other actions.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with Sami Janazrah and all Palestinian prisoners on the front lines of struggle against colonial policies of imprisonment, fighting for their freedom with their bodies and lives on the line. International solidarity can be particularly important to prevent occupation forces from isolating Janazrah and his fellow prisoners politically as well as physically – the Palestinian prisoners are not forgotten! Freedom for all Palestinian prisoners, and freedom for Palestine from the river to the sea!

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Salam Taha: 82 days of interrogation in the al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

The following article, by Palestinian writer Hind Shraydeh, was originally published in Arabic at Hadf News:

Salam and Rubou

By Hind Shraydeh

The different meanings of “Peace”

To some who hold power and authority, “peace” is linked with settlement and accommodation, with privileges they aspire to obtain in exchange for crumbs of the historic Palestine. Salam, on the other hand, whose name in Arabic means “peace,” exemplifies another meaning for the term.

Salam Taha was born in the village of Deir Abu Misha’al, situated northwest of Ramallah city. He adores the sea, although he was deprived of enjoying it due to the occupation. Salam usually escapes from the noise of the city to Khirbet Al-Rachniyeh east of the village, to relish the green views of his secret place, gazing towards the occupied Palestinian coast, confronting his feelings with absolute silence, and spending time in spacious verdant fields.

“He is the most shy among us but the bravest too,” says his friend at university.

Arrested while caring for his child

Israeli military soldiers raided Salam’s house after exploding its door to make their entry. They attacked Salam, forcing against the wall and cowardly hitting his body with their rifles.

It was four o’clock in the morning, when Salam was awake caring for his one-month baby, Cana’an. He never knew it is going to be his last turn in the ongoing rotation with his wife, Rubou’  or that he would be unable to look after his child for quite a long time.

Salam was tied to the kitchen chair, while military soldiers ransacked his place, turning it upside down. They were looking for his older mobile phone, which was directly in front of them the entire time, but they claimed not to notice it while acting in such a vicious manner.

Salam remained placid, as if he was unbothered, and mocked the soldiers’ actions, an attitude that angered the chief officer, who tried to provoke Salam by cursing his wife Rubou’ and directing profane insults at her while she prepared some milk for her child to calm his continuous crying during the assault. He stared at the chief officer with a shaming look, as if asking, “Is this the way you are raised to respect mothers?!”

He hummed a melody, with unidentifiable lyrics, repeating the only recognized words of it, which were “you may.”

After the extensive vandalism inside the house, the Israeli soldiers handcuffed Salam’s hands and grabbed him tightly from the shoulders. Rubou’ quickly knelt down on the ground, trying to put her husband’s shoes on with all care and diligence.

Salam saluted her, saying, “It will not take so long… I will come back soon.”

“This is how my husband was abducted on a Friday at dawn, 30 August 2018, only two days before his master’s degree studies commenced, as he was registered in the International Studies Program at Birzeit University,” Rubou’ says.

Salam with baby Cana’an

Earning his undergraduate degree with several interruptions

Over 80 students at Birzeit University are currently imprisoned in Israeli prisons. 20 of them are held under administrative detention, without any charges or trial. Their detentions are based on the “predictions” of the area commander of the Israeli military occupation, that these students might pose a “security threat to the state of Israel.” The rest of the students face indictments in military court, mostly revolving around involvement in student activities inside the university.

Salam earned his BA degree in political science with a minor in public administration. His undergraduate studies were frequently interrupted by arrests, which extended the normal duration required to finish his studies,” Rubou’ stated.

There are students whose first university degree take them double the time they actually need to complete all their university requirements, in addition to courses related to their specialty. Students fail to join their classes, due to their repeated detentions, and yet try hard to resume their studies again at an older age with younger cohorts and sometime different generations than the ones that launched with them their academic journey.

Last week, three more student leaders were abducted by Israeli soldiers, just days before the end of the semester: Izz Shabaneh from the village of Sinjil, Mehdi Karajeh from the village of Saffa, and Basil Barghouthi from the village of Beit Rima.

Salam’s secret weapon

The Sunday after the invasion, Rubou’ knew that her husband is being held at Al-Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem, where Salam remained for 46 days of harsh interrogation, during which he was banned from seeing his lawyer. Salam visited Jerusalem not as a tourist visiting the Dome of the Rock or the Holy Sepulcher, but rather stuck in an underground dungeon with numerous torture methods that are hatefully designed in order to drain the prisoner’s will. Fluorescent lights were switched on 24/7, causing him a severe headache and irritating his eyes, coupled with echoes of  endless screaming and low temperatures directed on his body by an air-conditioner were only some of the examples of the constant pressure and inhuman treatment.

After three months of detention, Rubou’ decided to take the risk in order to cheer her husband up and transfer to him good feelings to help him stay strong and carry on with a brave heart. She decided to provide her husband with a secret weapon while attending his court session.

How is that possible if even a tissue is not allowed to pass through the punitive inspections and searches?! She took extra care of her outfit, wore her favorite jacket, closed its buttons, and luckily succeeded to pass through the first inspection, the second one through an automatic inspection machine, and the last personal one, that looks like two harassing hands passing an electronic stick over your body. After she waited outside in the cold for hours, the security guard notified Rubou’ that it was time for Salam’s trial. She walked into the court room with her surprise and unbuttoned her jacket, where Salam was able to see his son Cana’an’s smiling face printed on Robou’s T-shirt. For two minutes long, the security guards were frozen in place. They did not know how to deter such a secret weapon!

Rubou’ laughed while recalling the incident, saying: “I felt that we had won a victory … the guards were frozen and did not know what to do! They think they can abolish the longing in our hearts, but we proved them wrong. This was my way of resistance and standing by Salam’s side”.

82 days of harsh investigation in the Al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

Salam did not sleep for so long, he was immensely pale, and bleeding from his wrists due to the tight shackles around them. The prison administration employed a number of interrogators who created stories and fake scenarios about our family to weaken Salam. Some of their fabrications were about me, his wife, and our son Cana’an, found dead in a car accident, others were about bringing me for interrogation in a room adjacent to Salam’s cell”, Rubou said, recalling what Salam told her in one of her visits.

Rubou’ with Cana’an

Many deceptions and malicious tricks were practiced by the Israeli intelligence agency, known as the Shabak, in order to put pressure on Salam, with one sole aim:  Extracting confessions from him in order to celebrate their delusional victory and prove their domination over Palestinians.

“Before his recent arrest, Salam underwent a colonoscopy, as he suffers from colon problems, stomach pains and hemorrhoids that caused him bleeding during the interrogation. The lawyer submitted Salam’s medical papers explaining his condition, but the fascist regime did not care about his medication, and refused to let him go to the bathroom frequently,” Rubou’ says.

The Israeli occupation deliberately mistreats prisoners, providing them with poor and inadequate health care in an attempt to exhaust the captives. As punishment for Salam’s steadfastness, the illegitimate military court sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

Just two weeks before the end of his sentence, when Rubou’ was wondering about the color of the dress that she planned wear to welcome her partner home, and the unique outfit she is preparing for her son Cana’an to wear, only two weeks before Salam’s sentence ended, the Israeli military forces sent him to the slaughterhouse of Al-Moskobiyeh once again. Salam underwent thirty-six days of cruel interrogation with an agitated and hysterical frequency, during which he was once again prevented from meeting with his lawyer.

Eighty-two days is the cumulative time of interrogation Salam has gone through, while the “civilized” world and the luckier youths of the colonial project live in isolation from the tragedies of the occupation, perhaps by playing soccer or baseball and setting some exciting plans for their travels to the Maldives. Eighty-two days of interrogation, and yet the occupation steals years from Palestinian youth: Their future, their families and their children.

Meanwhile, international human rights organizations act like Pontius Pilate, when he washed his hands of guilt for the blood of Christ. Such organizations’ roles are to adopt “codes of conduct”, or issue informative brochures, or to express their “mild” concerns about a rough death that happened in a sacred spot in the far reaches of the earth, called Palestine.

Salam is still detained without trial in the Eshel desert prison, after he was arbitrarily transferred in mid-March from Ofer prison overnight as a punitive measure, as a result of which he had to sleep a full night in the “Ramla crossing-point”, a place where prisoners are gathered before they are distributed to other prisons. This happened at a time when the occupation claimed to be cautious and to stop unnecessary movement between prisons, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“You may build a huge wall around me, and another wall around you, the enemy of the sun … Still I will not compromise” lyrics of an Arabic song

Eshel Prison differs in its structure from other prisons; it is more isolated and brutal. The square yard, known as the fora, in which the prisoners spend their outdoor time is covered, so that they do not see the sky at all, nor the sun’s light. It is not available all day, but only for specific hours, and it is also far from the prisoners’ rooms. When released prisoners describe this prison, some say: “The bathroom in Eshel does not accommodate a chubby person, and the showers are narrow. All can be coped with except the climate of the desert, the high humidity and temperature in the morning and extreme cold at night”.

Salam spends most of his time reading and trying to maintain a healthy pattern by playing sports. He keeps humming his favorite song, as he walks in the fora“You may steal the last inch of my land… You may feed the years of my youth to the prison … You may put down the flame I keep rising… You may prevent me from kissing my mother …You may defeat the dreams I have for tomorrow. You may deprive my children of wearing their Eid holiday outfits… You may build a wall and yet another taller one… In that act you assure to the world that you are the enemy of the sunStill I will not compromise. Until the last pulse in my veins, I will continue fighting,” an Arabic song by Lebanese singer Julia Butros,

Fatherhood on hold

“It is not easy to raise a child on your own, while the pictures of the baby’s father are hung on the wall”, Rubou’ said. “Cana’an will turn two years old in July, while he does not know his father. I finally obtained a permit to visit Salam after being banned for almost a year. The long-anticipated permit allowed me to visit my husband three times only before the spread of COVID-19, after which visits were suspended.”

“We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die”

“To see my husband in front of me through an insulated partition and isolating glass without being able to touch his hand, and to speak to him through telephones which the jailers control, is not easy at all. This increases the pain in my heart,” Rubou’ says. “Salam and I experienced a beautiful love story at university, which was completed in our marriage, and Cana’an is the fruit of our love.”

“With all the suffering that I live alone with Cana’an, and all the decisions I have to make, serving as mother and father at the same time, I return to remember what we insisted on highlighting in our wedding card. ‘We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die.’ This is our conviction, and this is our belief in which we live every day, and we will raise our children to follow it as well,” Rubou’ concluded.

Salam and Rubou’s wedding card

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Palestinian youth and student organizations: It is time for the “Palestinian leadership” to go!

Statement for endorsement and circulation

Palestinian, Arab and international organizations are invited to endorse the statement below, which will be reissued with all additional signatories. To add the signature of your group or youth organization, please email bayanyouth.students@gmail.com.

We, the undersigned Palestinian youth and student organizations, and with us the associations, organizations and institutions that have signed this statement, call on the masses of Palestinian youth and students throughout occupied Palestine and in exile to join us in a popular initiative for the advancement and initiation of national development for the restoration of the revolutionary democratic approach for a new stage of struggle. The core of this initiative is the objectives of our Palestinian people: return, liberation, and continuing struggle to achieve all of their legitimate national goals and aspirations, no matter how long it may take.

The cause of Palestine, the sacred cause of our people, the cause of the exploited popular classes in our Arab homeland and the forces of freedom in the world, is today intended for liquidation, to be uprooted from the awareness and memory of our people and our nation. The rights of our people everywhere are subjected to all forms of distortion and confiscation. Nothing will protect this great cause from the ravages of liquidation and destruction except for the minds and arms of our people, the will of the committed, patriotic and revolutionary youth, and the steadfastness of women, workers and peasants.

Therefore, today, we call on our Palestinian people, especially the young Palestinian generations, to reject and repudiate the policies and positions represented in the approach of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his cohort, and to affirm that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority does not represent our people and is outside the ranks of our national struggle. We also call upon our great people to embody this popular will on the ground by organizing the widest, unified popular framework to overcome the disastrous phase of Oslo and all of its accompanying effects.

We invite you to participate broadly in the overthrow of the program of the so-called “Palestinian leadership,” which is based on a path of surrender and abandonment. This corrupt approach has come to its last days after over 40 years of marketing the project of a phantom state. This political class that has brought only shame and disaster to our people seeks today to convert the administrative autonomy in the occupied West Bank into the end of our liberation projects. The money of this class is mortgaged to the agents of the occupation, to “economic peace” and normalization projects. It has become imperative for our people to isolate this sector and defeat its program in the squares, streets, factories, farms, universities and schools inside and outside occupied Palestine.

And as we confront the U.S., Zionist and reactionary policies that today target the rights of our people to life and existence, in the face of the acceleration of the hostile liquidation project that aims to demolish the horizons of the national liberation project and abort all possibilities for renewal, in front of the daily brutal attack on the prisoners’ movement in the occupation prisons, and amid the confiscation of all of the natural and human rights of our people in the camps, silence becomes complicity, betrayal, a form of submission and failure.

The time has come for these leaders of surrender to depart from the Muqata’ headquarters in Ramallah and to isolate this defeated sector that holds itself close to the Zionist entity and the CIA, participating in the collective punishment of our people in Gaza, depriving the families of martyrs and prisoners of their rights, suppressing the resistance and coordinating with the occupation forces to target the fundamentals of our society, its national resistance and its youth and student vanguard.

The defeat of the Oslo project and the isolation of Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies are more achievable and realistic than ever, despite all of the capacities and resources that the forces hostile to the Palestinian people use to support the leadership of the Authority. However, the crucial element in this lengthy historical battle is the role of the popular masses and their ability to generate the revolutionary approach from the grassroots and bring it into the light, from the depths of our history and our militant legacies of struggle and from the womb of our Palestinian societies in every popular community, every neighborhood, camp, city and village.

We call on all Palestinian resistance forces, with their various political and intellectual currents and paths, to end the state of disintegration and fragmentation by forming a unified national front. This will be a support and sustenance for our people everywhere, and it sword and shield will protect our people as they continue on their historical road of great sacrifice and struggle in order to obtain their rights and break their chains, achieving our collective and complete liberation from the clutches of Zionism.

We call on you to broad popular engagement and to intensify popular national activities during the Week of Palestinian Struggle, May 15-22, 2020, as our first stage in announcing a new phase of struggle under the slogan: Palestine Day – the Day of Return and Liberation. Let history bear witness to the crime, the ongoing Nakba that has continued since 1947-48 and, at the same time, testifies to the ongoing Palestinian resistance that continues until victory, despite all of the sacrifices and lengthy years of struggle.

No to the path of surrender and liquidation! No to the project of the “self-rule government” and “administrative autonomy!”

Yes to the path of return and liberation. Yes to the resistance and intifada until victory!

To add the signature of your group or youth organization, please email bayanyouth.students@gmail.com.

Initial Signatories:

  • Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  • HIRAK: Palestinian Youth Mobilization – Germany
  • Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
  • “Sada” Movement – Jerusalem- occupied Palestine 
  • Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition / North America
  • Palestinian Arab Cultural Center \Rio Grande de Sol, Brazil المركز الثقافي العربي- الفلسطيني/ ساو بولو، البرازيل 
  • Unione Democratica Arabo-Palestinese (UDAP)- Italy  الاتحاد الديمقراطي العربي الفلسطيني- إيطاليا 
  • Democratic Palestine Committees\ Brazil لجان فلسطين الديموقراطية- البرازيل
  • مركز النّقب للأنشطة الشبابيّة – ِAl Naqab Center for Youth Activities
  • Palestinian Chess Forum- Shatila refugee camp الملتقى الفلسطيني للشطرنج- مخيم شاتيلا
  • AlKarama-Palestinian Women Movement in Spain حركة نساء فلسطين الكرامة في إسبانيا
  • Centro Cultural e Politico Al Janiah\Brazil  مركز الجانية الثقافي والسياسي\البرازيل
  • Brazilian Arab Palestinian Society – Corumba\ Brazil 
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College 
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at Butler University
  • GUPS SFSU
  • Within Our Lifetime – United for Palestine
  • Canada Palestine Association
  • Palestinian Student Association at Wilfrid Laurier University/ Canada
  • Palestine Solidarity Collective at York University
  • Palestine Solidarity Group at University of Windsor
  • Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at McMaster University
  • Midwest Students for Justice in Palestine
  • Handala Coalition of Michigan
  • Palestinian Cultural Club – Beirut / Lebanon
  • Palestinian Arab Cultural Club\ Lebanon 

المنظمات الشبابية والطلابية الفلسطينية:
آن أوان رحيل ” القيادة الفلسطينية “

بيان / عريضة للتوقيع

نحن المنظمات الشبابيّة والطلابيّة الفلسطينية، ومعنا الجمعيات والمنظمات والمؤسسات الموّقعة على هذا البيان، ندعو جماهير طلبة وشباب فلسطين في عموم الوطن المحتل والمنافي إلى المبادرة الشعبية من أجل النهوض والشروع في البناء الوطني واستعادة نهج التغيير الثوري الديموقراطي للعبور نحو مرحلة نضالية جديدة جوهرها مشروع شعبنا الفلسطيني في العودة والتحرير والنضال لتحقيق كافة أهدافه وطموحاته الوطنية المشروعة مهما طال الزمن.

إن قضية فلسطين، قضية شعبنا المقدسة، قضية الطبقات الشعبية المُستغَلة في وطننا العربي وأحرار العالم، يُراد اليوم تصفيتها وقلعها من جذورها ومن وعي الشعب وذاكرة الأمة، حيث تتعرض حقوق شعبنا في كافة أماكن تواجده إلى كل أشكال التشويه والمصادرة، ولن يحمي هذه القضية الكبرى من براثن التصفية والإلغاء إلا سواعد وعقول شعبنا وإرادة شبابه الوطني الطليعي والثوري وإرادة نساءه وعماله وفلاحيه.

وعليه، فإننا اليوم ندعو شعبنا الفلسطيني وفي مقدمتهم الأجيال الفلسطينية الشابة إلى رفض السياسات والمواقف التي يمثلها نهج رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس وفريقه، واعتبار قيادة السلطة الفلسطينية خارجة عن الصف الوطني ولا تمثل شعبنا، كما وندعو الكل الوطني إلى تجسيد الإرادة الشعبية على الأرض من خلال تنظيم أوسع حالة شعبية موحدة لتجاوز مرحلة أوسلو الكارثية وكل ملحقاتها وآثارها.

إننا ندعوكم إلى المشاركة الشعبية الواسعة في الإطاحة الشاملة بما يُسمى ” برنامج القيادة الفلسطينية ” القائم على نهج الاستسلام والتفريط. النهج الفاسد الذي بات يلفظ أنفاسه الأخيرة بعد أكثر من 40 عاماً من تسويق مشروع الدولة الوهمية، وهذه الطبقة السياسية التي جلبت الخزي والكوارث وتسعى اليوم إلى تحويل الحكم الإداري الذاتي في الضفة المحتلة إلى نهاية مشروعنا التحرري، طبقة المال من وكلاء الاحتلال المرتهنة إلى مشاريع ” السلام الاقتصادي” والتطبيع. فقد صار لِزاماً على شعبنا عزلها وإسقاط برنامجها في الساحات والميادين والشوارع وفي المصانع والمزارع والجامعات والمدارس داخل وخارج فلسطين المحتلة.

وأمام كل ما يجري اليوم من سياسات أمريكية وصهيونية ورجعية تستهدف حقوق شعبنا في الوجود والحياة، وأمام تسارع وتيرة المشروع التصفوي المعادي وضرب آفاق المشروع الوطني واجهاض إمكانيات توليده من جديد، وأمام الهجمة المسعورة اليومية على الحركة الأسيرة في سجون العدوّ، ومصادرة كل حق طبيعي وإنساني لشعبنا في المخيمات، يُصبح الصمت تواطئ وخيانة وشكلاً من أشكال العبودية والسقوط.

آن أوان رحيل هذه القيادات المستسلمة في مقر المقاطعة برام الله، وعزل هذه الشريحة المهزومة التي ترتمي في حضن الكيان الصهيوني ووكالة المخابرات الأمريكية، تعاقب شعبنا في غزة، وتحرم عوائل الشهداء والأسرى من حقوقهم وتطعن المقاومة وتنسق مع قوات الاحتلال لاستهداف أمن مجتمعنا ومقاومته الوطنية و طلائعه الشبابية والطلابية.

إن هزيمة مشروع أوسلو التصفويّ وعزل محمود عباس وفريقه هي إمكانية واقعية أكثر من أيّ وقت مضى، رغم كل الإمكانيات والقدرات التي تملكها القوى المعادية لشعبنا التي تساند قيادة السلطة، غير أن العنصر الحاسم، في هذه المعركة التاريخية الطويلة، هو دور الجماهير الشعبية وقدرتها على توليد النهج الثوري من القاع إلى النور، ومن عمق تاريخنا وإرثنا الكفاحي ومن رحم مجتمعاتنا الفلسطينية في كل تجمع شعبي وكل حي ومخيم ومدينة وقرية.

إننا ندعو كافة قوى المقاومة الفلسطينية على اختلاف تياراتها ومشاربها السياسية والفكرية إلى إنهاء حالة التفكك والشرذمة من خلال تشكيل جبهة وطنية موحدة، تكون سنداً وعوناً لشعبنا في كل مكان، وسيفه ودرعه الذي يحميه، وهو يواصل مسيرته التاريخية ويقدم التضحيات الجسام من أجل انتزاع حقوقه وكسر قيوده وتحقيق خلاصه النهائي والجماعي من براثن الاستعمار الصهيوني.

ندعوكم إلى الانخراط الشعبي الواسع وتكثيف الفعاليات الوطنية الشعبية في أسبوع النضال الفلسطيني 15 ـــــ 22 مايو/أيار، 2020 ليكون محطتنا الأولى في إعلان مرحلة نضالية جديدة تحت شعار: يوم فلسطين. يوم العودة والتحرير. وليعود هذا التاريخ شاهداً على الجريمة ـــ النكبة المستمرة منذ العام 1947 / 1948 وشاهداً في الوقت ذاته على المقاومة الفلسطينية المستمرة حتى النصر. مهما بلغت التضحيات وطال الزمن.

لا لمشروع التفريط والاستسلام. لا لمشروع الحكم الإداري الذاتي.

نعم لنهج العودة والتحرير. نعم للمقاومة والانتفاضة حتى النصر.

لإضافة توقيع منظمتكم أو مجموعتكم الشبابية الرجاء إرسال اسم المنظمة الشبابية عبر الايميل الآتي: bayanyouth.students@gmail.com

المنظمات الشبابية والطلابية الفلسطينية:

  • شبكة صامدون للدفاع عن الأسرى الفلسطينيين
  • الحراك الشبابي الفلسطيني- ألمانيا
  • حركة الشباب الفلسطيني- الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية (Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM
  • العودة ، ائتلاف فلسطين من أجل حق العودة / أمريكا الشمالية
  • حراك “صدى” القدس- فلسطين المحتلة 
  • المركز الثقافي العربي الفلسطيني/ ريو غراندي دي سول، البرازيل
  • الاتحاد الديمقراطي العربي- الفلسطيني- إيطاليا
  • لجان فلسطين الديمقراطية- البرازيل
  • الملتقى الفلسطيني للشطرنج- مخيم شاتيلا
  • حركة نساء فلسطين الكرامة في إسبانيا
  • مركز الجانية الثقافي والسياسي\البرازيل
  • Students for justice in Palestine at John Jay college طلاب من أجل العدالة في فلسطين/ جي كولدج
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at Butler University طلاب من أجل العدالة في فلسطين/ جامعة بتلر
  • GUPS SFSU الاتحاد العام لطلبة فلسطين/ جامعة سان فرانسيسكو
  • Within Our Lifetime- United for Palestine
  • الجمعية العربية الفلسطينية البرازيلية- كرومبا
  • Canada Palestine Association  
  • رابطة الطلاب الفلسطينيين في جامعة ويلفريد لوريير / كندا
  • تجمع التضامن مع فلسطين في جامعة يورك
  • مجموعة التضامن مع فلسطين في جامعة ويندسور 
  • التضامن من أجل حقوق الإنسان الفلسطينية في جامعة ماكماستر
  • Midwest Students for Justice in Palestine طلاب الغرب الأوسط من أجل العدالة في فلسطين
  • Handala Coalition of Michigan ائتلاف حنظلة في ميشيغن
  • مركز النقب للأنشطة الشبابية- مخيم برج البراجنة 
  • النادي الثقافي الفلسطيني- بيروت/ لبنان
  • النادي الثقافي الفلسطيني العربي\ لبنان 

(Source / 08.05.2020) 

Remembering Ibrahim al-Rai, revolutionary struggler for Palestine killed under torture

Poster by Samidoun Palestine

Ibrahim (to the Shabak interrogator): Have you ever interrogated a table? I am a table now. Go interrogatea table. If it talks back to you, come to me and you’ll find that I have become a mountain.” — Ibrahim El-Rai, quoted in a handbook publishedby the Committee for the First Commemoration ofthe Martyr Ibrahim Mahmood al-Rai (Translated and reprinted in Lena Meari’s Sumud)

On the 32nd anniversary of his assassination behind Israeli bars, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the memory of Ibrahim al-Rai (Abu al-Muntasser), the hero of the interrogation rooms. Ibrahim al-Rai was killed under torture by Israeli jailers in the interrogation cells where he was held and tortured for over 10 months of continuous solitary confinement on April 11, 1988. Until his death, he gave not one word of confession to his jailers and torturers. His revolutionary life of struggle and resistance continues to inspire Palestinians and internationalists everywhere, not only for his steadfastness behind bars but for his radical love for and commitment to the Palestinian people and their liberation.

Born in 1960 in Qalqilya, Ibrahim al-Rai joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1978 after two years of active involvement in the popular struggle. He was first arrested in August 1978 for his role in the Front and was released in 1982. He was released as part of a campaign by the Israeli occupation to promote the so-called “Village leagues” as an alternative to the Palestinian revolution and its leadership. Upon his release he publicly declared, “These people represent only themselves and the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” at the time a revolutionary declaration that openly defied the occupation upon his release. He was returned to prison to complete his original sentence.

He was active in all fields of struggle, organizing mass cultural activities, dabkeh groups and youth symposiums. He established the Democratic Progressive Student Pole at An-Najah University in Nablus before devoting himself to political activity in Qalqilya as well as armed resistance throughout the northern West Bank of occupied Palestine.

He formed volunteer work committees that harvested wheat with the farmers, provided assistance to poor and marginalized people, rebuilt damaged properties, cleaned the cemeteries and painted schools in the refugee camps. He took strong inspiration from international and Arab struggles, including the Algerian liberation movement and the Vietnamese people’s war.

Again, in 1986 he was arrested and interrogated under torture for nine months, during which time he refused to provide a confession despite facing intense torture. Even after he was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, he was not sent to the collective prison rooms with fellow prisoners but was instead held in solitary confinement, denied the ability to even shower, shave or change his clothes.

During this period he was held for 58 days in the interrogation cells in Jenin prison, then transferred to the interrogation cells in the old Nablus prison, and from there to the infamous al-Moskobiyeh detention center. He maintained a hunger strike throughout his time in the Moskobiyeh detention center until 29 November 1987, when he was transferred to Ramleh prison and thrown into solitary confinement there, where torture and interrogation continued. While held in al-Moskobiyeh, he wrote on the walls of his cell: “My comrades, they may hang me and this is possible, and if they hang me, they will not kill me, so I will stay alive. I will challenge them and I will not die, and remember me, I will remain alive in the beats of your heart.”

His example represented the “Philosophy of Confrontation Behind Bars” and resistance under interrogation that has come to exemplify Palestinian sumoud or steadfastness. Two days before his death he sent a letter to his family members:

“My beloved family, my lovely mother, passionate regards from my heart. I received your letter and, indeed, I read it almost every day as it encompasses immense meanings that motivate me and give me new powers each second I spend in my solitary cell. The poem that the comrades dedicated to me affectsme deeply and mobilizes me to really be the samed [steadfast] hero. . . . I realize that my solitary confinement is meant to separate me socially and culturally.Yet their plans will fail. The increase of suffering and hardships will not stopme; it motivates me to continue. . . . My beloved, I wish for you to ask the lawyer to visit me as there are issues I need to discuss with her regarding my solitary confinement and my case.”

Ibrahim al-Rai is considered to be the Bobby Sands of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, a symbol not only of the prisoners but of an entire people’s commitment to resist colonialism, Zionism, and imperialism. His experience inspired a generation of Palestinians to refuse to confess under torture, and the slogan, “Resist, resist like al-Rai under interrogation” remains a call for Palestinian revolutionary consciousness that refuses to break or bend.

(Source / 12.04.2020) 

Samidoun mourns Manolis Glezos, lifelong struggler and symbol of Greek resistance to fascism

Manolis Glezos speaks in Athens on 20 December 2017, with Mohammed Khatib, Samidoun’s Europe coordinator

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the passing of Manolis Glezos, 97, a lifelong champion of liberation, a legendary anti-Nazi resistance fighter and a dedicated friend of a free Palestine. We remember his commitment to continue to resist all forms of exploitation and oppression, from the European Union’s plundering of the resources of the Greek people to the Israeli apartheid regime in occupied Palestine. His example of revolutionary commitment to people’s liberation will continue to stand as an inspiration and an example to all who struggle for radical change and a different, better world.

Glezos became a symbol of the Greek resistance to Nazi occupation and invasion when he climbed the Acropolis with his comrade Apostolis Santas, tore down the swastika flag. He was arrested and tortured repeatedly for his involvement in the resistance, and he was sentenced to death in absentia while the Nazis did not know his identity. After he returned to Greece following its liberation from Nazi occupation, Glezos returned to Greece, where he continued to fight against the right-wing government and later the dictatorship. For his work as a journalist and his activism, he faced multiple arrests and imprisonments, including three death sentences, until his final acquittal in the general amnesty of 1971. He was convicted 28 times for his political activity and served 11 years in prison. He was forced into exile for 4.5 years during the Greek military junta.

He worked as editor-in-chief of the newspaper Rizopastis and later, directed the newspaper Avgi. After the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, he served as president of the United Democratic Left (ECHR), a member of parliament for the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and then a member of European Parliament with SYRIZA, from 2014 to 2015. He left SYRIZA after its acquiescence to the demands of the European “troika” of capital, resigning from his position to assert the rights of the Greek people.

Throughout his life, he was committed to a vision of liberation that was fully inclusive of the Palestinian people. He participated in protests inside the European Parliament to stand with the Palestinian people under Israeli attack in Gaza and called for freedom for Khalida Jarrar and other Palestinian political prisoners. In 2002, Israeli occupation forces blocked him and his colleagues from marching to Ramallah under siege.

On 20 December 2017, at an event organized by Samidoun in Athens marking 50 years of struggle of the Palestinian revolutionary left, two Palestinian youth presented him with a kuffiyeh and a map of Palestine to honor his lifelong commitment to liberation and his many years of struggle. Glezos addressed the event, speaking about his own history with Palestine solidarity and today’s situation, with Trump recognizing al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel. Glezos noted that Trump does not represent the people of the United States but himself and the ruling class, emphasizing that he has no right to decide to whom al-Quds belongs and that it is the rightful capital of the Palestinian people.

Glezos said that in his analysis, the Palestinian leadership has made major mistakes over the years, first and foremost the recognition of the Israeli state and secondly the decision to stop the Palestinian armed struggle outside Palestine. He concluded by emphasizing continuous and ongoing solidarity with the Palestinian people until the total liberation of Palestine.

(Source / 31.03.2020) 

Remembering Therese Halasa, Palestinian revolutionary: Rima Tannous’ prison story

herese Halasa as a young fighter in the camps and later in life, living in Amman after her release.

On 28 March 2020, Therese Halasa, lifelong struggler and Palestinian revolutionary, passed away in Amman, Jordan, at the age of 66. Born in Akka, occupied Palestine ’48 in 1954 to Palestinian and Jordanian parents, she grew up under Israeli martial law imposed on Palestinians. After the 1967 war and the occupation of the remainder of Palestine – the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – she was inspired by the same call as thousands of young Palestinians, flocking to the camps of the fighting movements of the Palestine Liberation Organization. She finished high school in Akka, studied nursing in Nazareth and left Palestine in 1971, without informing her family, to join the Palestinian liberation movement.

In an interview with scholars of the Learn Palestine project, she described her own crossing of the border from 1948 Palestine to Lebanon to join the Palestinian revolution. She emphasizes that she did not join the revolution due to “suffering, but due to a sense of patriotism inspired by Abdel Nasser and my father.”

As an 18-year-old Palestinian fighter in 1972, Theresa was one of four militants who hijacked a Belgian Sabena plane, Flight 571, en route to Tel Aviv. Their demand: freedom for 315 Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli jails.

The four Palestinian fighters, Therese Halasa, Rima Tannous (a young Jordanian woman), Ali Taha Abu Sneineh and Abdel-Aziz al-Atrash, and the plane were attacked by Israeli forces after landing in Palestine, disguised as Red Cross workers and aircraft technicians. The forces that attacked the plane and killed Abu Sneineh and al-Atrash – as well as a 22-year-old passenger, Miriam Anderson – included Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu; Netanyahu himself was shot in the shoulder, and Therese Halasa was severely injured.

Rima Tannous and Therese Halasa were brought before an Israeli military court and sentenced to life imprisonment, but they continued to educate themselves and struggle behind prison bars. Rima Tannous told her story of torture under Israeli interrogation in an account published after her release from Israeli prisons in 1979 in a prisoner exchange; Therese Halasa was released four years later in 1983 in another prisoner exchange with the Palestinian resistance. At the time of her release, she was engaged with other prisoners in a collective hunger strke.

After her release, Therese Halasa was expelled from occupied Palestine. She lived the rest of her life in Jordan, marrying and working as a nurse caring for patients with disabilities. She continued to tell her story, including to documentarians and filmmakers researching the history of the Sabena hijacking and the Palestinian revolution. Despite her illness and battle with lung cancer, she continued to be present at countless sit-ins and demonstrations for Palestine in Jordan.

Rima Tannous, Therese’s comrade-in-arms, shared her story of involvement, resistance, torture and oppression inside Israeli prisons in a statement published in 1979 after her release as part of a collection, Palestinian Political Prisoners: Struggle Behind Iron Bars, published by the PLO’s Unified Information Department and the Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners in Israeli Jails. We present Rima’s story, below, which includes a detailed description of her and Therese’s reunification behind bars, as well as their interaction with international political prisoners jailed by Israel for their involvement in the Palestinian struggle

(Source / 29.03.2020)